Nutrition is not only important for general well being, but is essential in the healing process.
Should I supplement my Diet with supplements?
I always feel natural is best. However, for some individuals supplementation can provide key nutrients they may be deficient in. The “normal” diet may not provide sufficient amounts of key nutrients, or some individuals. An individual’s requirements may be greater due to characteristics such as specific genetics, illness and disease, stress or physical activity.
As with many aspects in our lives, we must determine fact form fiction of the many claims made on the benefits of various products on the marketplace. The supplement industry has become a billion dollar business and you need to be aware of conflicting financial agenda’s, when assessing the claims made in regard to the benefits of vitamin and mineral supplements.
Below is an overview of some of the common supplements on the market-place. However, there is no substitute for a diet based on wholesome whole foods.
Magnesium is a vital mineral your body needs to function correctly. It is involved with hundreds of important body processes, including those that control how your muscles and nerves work. It helps to keep your bones strong, heart healthy, and blood sugar normal. It also plays a role in your energy level. You can get magnesium in many foods and drinks.
Many Australians don’t get enough magnesium from their diet. Over time, low levels of the mineral may set the stage for a variety of health issues, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and migraines. Older adults, alcoholics, and those with type 2 diabetes or digestive issues are more likely to lack it, either because their bodies get rid of too much magnesium or they don’t take in enough in the first place.
The Role of Magnesium
Your body uses magnesium to build new bone cells. Research suggests that it may also protect against bone loss, broken bones, and the bone disease osteoporosis. Studies show that women with osteoporosis tend to have lower levels of magnesium than those who don’t.
Inflammation is your immune system’s reaction to potential harm. In the short term, it helps your body fight off viruses and heal wounds. But if you have inflammation all the time, it can lead to health problems such as heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. Magnesium can help keep that from happening.
Magnesium helps your heart pump blood. Right levels of the mineral can lower your chances of an irregular heartbeat, heart disease, or a heart attack. Magnesium relaxes the walls of your blood vessels, and that can help keep your blood pressure down. It also may help boost your HDL, or “good,” cholesterol levels.
Experts think magnesium helps to block or lower pain chemicals in your brain and keeps your blood vessels from tightening. You’re more likely to get migraines if you don’t get enough. A 400- to 500-milligram supplement may help keep these headaches away.
Magnesium helps a hormone called insulin work right. Insulin helps keep your blood sugar levels steady. In one study, people who got the most magnesium in their diet were less likely to get the disease than those who got the least.
Food Sources of Magnesium
Snack on an ounce of almonds or cashews, and you’ll get about 80 milligrams of magnesium. Other good choices include pumpkin seeds, pecans, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and flax. Sprinkle them on a salad or toss them into a trail mix. You’ll also get heart-healthy fats, fibre, and antioxidants.
When it comes to nutrition, whole grains beat out white bread and other highly processed foods. Not only do they have lots of fibre, but they’re also high in magnesium. Two slices of whole wheat bread pack 45 milligrams of the mineral, a half-cup of brown rice has about 40 milligrams, and a half-cup of cooked oatmeal gives you 30 milligrams.
Any way you slice, dice, or mash it, this is a great source of magnesium. One cup of the diced fruit holds 44 milligrams. It also serves up heart-healthy fats, fibre, and folate. Try adding avocado to your sandwich, salad, or taco.
Here’s yet another reason to eat your veggies. You’ll get about 150 milligrams from a cup of cooked spinach or Swiss chard. Besides those two standouts, other good magnesium sources are dark leafy greens such as collard greens and kale. Bonus: They’re also loaded with calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K. The vegetables don’t all have to be leafy. Okra, for example, is magnesium-rich.
Soy is a staple among vegetarians for its plant-based protein. But it’s no slouch in the magnesium department, either. A cup of soy milk rings up 60 milligrams, while a half-cup of firm tofu packs about 50 milligrams.
A half-cup of black beans has 60 milligrams and kidney beans has 35 milligrams. Other magnesium-rich legumes include chickpeas, white beans, and lentils. From stews to salads, you can add beans to nearly any dish. You’ll get an extra dose of fibre, protein, iron, and zinc.
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow colour. It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. . These compounds in turmeric are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high… it’s around 3%, by weight. Most of the studies on this herb are using turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin itself, with dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day. It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using the turmeric spice in your foods. Therefore, if you want to experience the full effects, then you need to take an extract that contains significant amounts of curcumin. Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%. Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to take it with a fatty meal.
Many claims are made regarding Turmeric. The bottom line it is the curcumin that offers the beneficial anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore you need to assess firstly are you obtaining sufficient amounts of curcumin and is your body able to absorb and utilise it.
Is Glucosamine Good for Joint Pain?
If you’re looking for a supplement that may ease your joint pain, glucosamine might be worth a try. Some studies show it gives relief for mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis, and it may work for other joints, too.
What Is It?
Glucosamine is a natural chemical compound in your body. But it also comes in the form of a supplement. There are two main types: hydrochloride and sulfate.
What Does It Do?
The glucosamine in your body helps keep up the health of your cartilage — the rubbery tissue that cushions bones at your joints. But as you get older, your levels of this compound begin to drop, which leads to the gradual breakdown of the joint.
There’s some evidence that glucosamine sulfate supplements help counteract this effect, although experts aren’t sure how.
Some people have also used glucosamine to try to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, allergies, chronic venous insufficiency, sports injuries, temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ), and long-term low back pain. So far, though, there’s not much scientific evidence that it works for those problems.
How much glucosamine should you take?
In most studies on treating osteoarthritis, the typical dose was 500 milligrams of glucosamine sulfate, three times a day. Ask your doctor what he recommends for you. Some experts suggest you take it with meals to prevent an upset stomach.
Can you get glucosamine naturally from foods?
Although glucosamine sulfate supplements are often manufactured from the shells of shellfish, there aren’t any natural food sources of glucosamine.
What are the risks of taking glucosamine?
On the whole, glucosamine seems to be a fairly safe supplement. Side effects are generally mild. You’re more likely to get them if you take high doses. They may include things like:
Risks. If you have a shellfish allergy, be cautious about using glucosamine because you could have a reaction. Also, check with your doctor before taking supplements if you have diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, bleeding disorders, or high blood pressure.
Interactions. Check with your doctor before you use glucosamine if you take other medicines, including heart drugs, blood thinners, and diabetes drugs. Also, glucosamine isn’t recommended for children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, because there isn’t enough evidence yet about whether it’s safe for those groups.
is a chemical that is normally found in cartilage around joints in the body. Chondroitin sulfate is usually manufactured from animal sources, such as shark and cow cartilage.
Chondroitin sulfate is used for osteoarthritis. It is often used in combination with other ingredients, including manganese ascorbate, glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, or N-acetyl glucosamine.
Chondroitin sulfate is also taken by mouth for HIV/AIDS, heart disease, heart attack, weak bones (osteoporosis), joint pain caused by drugs used to treat breast cancer, acid reflux, high cholesterol, muscle soreness after exercise, a bladder condition called interstitial cystitis, a bone disease called Kashin-Beck disease, and itchy and scaly skin (psoriasis). Chondroitin sulfate is also used in a complex with iron for treating iron-deficiency anemia.
Chondroitin sulfate is available as an eye drop for dry eyes. In addition, it is used during cataract surgery, and as a solution for preserving corneas used for transplants. It is approved by the FDA for these uses.
Some people with osteoarthritis use ointments or skin creams for pain that contain chondroitin sulfate, in combination with glucosamine sulfate, shark cartilage, and camphor.
Some people also inject chondroitin sulfate into the muscles for osteoarthritis.
Some people insert chondroitin sulfate into the bladder for urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder conditions, or loss of control of the bladder.
How does it work?
In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the joints breaks down. Taking chondroitin sulfate, one of the building blocks of cartilage, might slow this breakdown.